If you just want to stream some cool movies and TV shows, both Nvidia Shield TV and Roku Ultra are capable of doing that. But if you also want fast processing speeds, a sophisticated user interface, and console-grade games, one is probably better than the other. Continue reading below for the comparison between Nvidia Shield TV vs Roku Ultra!
Read on below to learn more about:
– The processing power of each TV streamer here
– The remote control of Nvidia Shield TV vs Roku Ultra
– Which device that has a better, more intuitive user interface
– The software and available channels on each platform
– The available gaming options on each platform
– Which model that is generally more recommended for the money
First of all, let’s compare the hardware of these two devices. It is very easy to pick the winner here because there is a glaring difference in the processing units of Nvidia Shield TV and Roku Ultra. But this is not surprising, due to the fact that Nvidia Shield TV is quite more expensive than Roku Ultra. See also: Slingbox M2 vs 500.
Nvidia Shield TV is armed with the Nvidia Tegra X1 chipset, which is a very sophisticated chipset which consists of four ARM Cortex-A57 cores for main processing and four ARM Cortex-A53 cores for low-power scenarios. It also has the 256-core Nvidia Maxwell GPU. The device is fitted with 3 GB RAM.
The performance is impressive. In general, Nvidia Shield TV is able to load apps much more quickly than Roku Ultra. Although there are several other factors that may affect the loading times, such as the available bandwidth and the inherent coding of the apps, the beefier hardware certainly also plays a major role.
On the other hand, Roku Ultra is ‘only’ equipped with an ARM Cortex A53 processor amd 1 GB RAM. It is much slower when loading channels and apps. This is not a problem if you only want a simple and affordable streamer, and you don’t mind waiting a little bit. After all, Roku Ultra is quite considerably cheaper.
Both models here are already capable of handling 4K content. In addition, they both also support HDR 10. So, they both are able to give you the best image quality currently offered by the available technology.
Nvidia Shield TV has a much larger storage capacity. The internal storage capacity is 16 GB. So, you can already save apps and some of your favorite movies in the unit.
The internal storage capacity of Roku Ultra is only 512 MB. This is much more limited. You can only save some apps here. It is not even sufficient for a single Full HD movie.
Fortunately, both Nvidia Shield TV vs Roku Ultra are expandable with external storage. They each have a dedicated Ethernet port, so you can easily connect them to your home network and manage your local media.
Both devices have good remote controls. Since they are CEC-compliant, you can control the volume levels through their remotes. In terms of appearance, Nvidia Shield TV’s remote is definitely better. It has a space-look appearance and feel with a very sleek body. Roku Ultra’s remote is quite bigger, with large buttons and a more ergonomic design; the remote doesn’t look cool but at least is functional and effective.
Both remotes support voice commands. So, with either Nvidia Shield TV or Roku Ultra, you can play content effortlessly without having to navigate multiple screens or type out titles. However, Nvidia Shield TV comes with a huge advantage over Roku Ultra here – it has built-in Google Assistant, so it can bring the whole power of Google Account plus some smart home capabilities to your TV.
Roku Ultra’s remote has a 3.5mm headphone jack for private listening. This is handy when you want to watch something without disturbing other people in your home. Meanwhile, Nvidia Shield TV comes with two options. You can get it with a basic battery-powered remote that has no headphone jack, or a rechargeable remote that has a 3.5mm headphone jack.
User Interface and Software
Nvidia Shield TV runs on the Android TV (Android 8.0 Oreo). So, you can expect a Google’s well-designed operating system made specifically for home entertainment here. The user interface is powerful, extensible, and intuitive to use. It relies on groups and icons. Also, it allows you to use your own pics and albums for the screensaver.
On the other hand, Roku Ultra works with the company’s own operating system, which is Roku OS 8.1. The user interface is pretty good and easy to use. There is a menu on the left, while the icons for the channels are on the right. However, it tends to become cluttered quickly. It also has some ads, which, although aren’t intrusive, add a cheap feel to the experience. It has cartoonish images that you can use for the screensaver.
There is another important difference between Nvidia Shield TV vs Roku Ultra. There are various codecs that are supported by Nvidia Shield TV, including MPEG-2. As the effect, it is able to stream a wider range of video sources, such as Pluto TV and HD Homerun. On the other hand, Roku Ultra doesn’t support MPEG-2, so there are some channels that aren’t available on the platform.
If you want a streamer that doubles as a gaming powerhouse, Nvidia Shield TV is the way to go. This model even comes with a proper controller for gaming. The controller quality is very good, and it is definitely much better than Roku Ultra’s simple gaming buttons (which consist of only A and B buttons).
Nvidia Shield TV can give you full access to Google Play Store. You can find a full suite of entertainment options here, including various third-party apps and games. The company claims that there are more than 100 console-grade games available for Nvidia Shield TV. In addition, this device also allows you to cast games from your PC and stream from the cloud for playing heavier, more resource-intensive games.
Roku Ultra allows you to get apps and games from Roku Store. But the available gaming options are indeed more limited. There are just simple games here. Although Roku Ultra also allows you to use Chromecast to stream from a smartphone, tablet, or web browser, the process is rather slow and clunky.
Nvidia Shield TV vs Roku Ultra
All in all, Nvidia Shield TV is definitely better. This is a much more powerful device. It offers greater processing power, larger storage, and better user interface. It also brings the benefits of Google Assistant and Google Play Store. For gaming, there are various console-grade options available, plus the ability to stream from your PC or the cloud.